Recipes: 5 Delicious Ways to Cook Seasonal Summer Veggies
With the summer season upon us, it is time to gear up for more warm weather activities—picnics and barbeques. In order to take full advantage of these events, it is essential to include some tasty and seasonal veggies to your summer meals. Unlike cold weather “comfort food,” summer vegetables often get their robust taste by using different seasonings, as well as varied cooking methods that we don’t normally use during the winter months.
While many of the same vegetables are enjoyed in the summer as in the colder months, there are specific ways to prepare them in order to really enhance the flavor and get that true summer taste.
5 Seasonal Summer Veggies
Some of the favorite summer veggies include:
Rather than cutting the asparagus stalks to boil, it is best in the summer months to peel them. This will allow you to retain more of the true flavor, as well as give you more food to eat and less waste. Once the asparagus have been properly peeled, place them on the grill for 10 minutes if they are thin, or for 15 minutes if they have a thicker stalk.
Corn on the Cob
While a bowl of cream corn tastes great on a cold snowy day, the summer brings a whole new way to enjoy this veggie. For perfect summer corn on the cob, it is best to pull back the husk and remove the silk. Then, prior to placing the cobs on to the grill, let them soak in room temperature water for approximately ten minutes.
Carrots and Green Beans
Enjoy more than one veggie at a time by combining several to come up with a cool summer treat, such as carrot and green bean salad. Slice three carrots along with one pound of fresh green beans, with the ends snipped and cut into smaller bite sized pieces. To add more flavor, you may also want to chop 10 radishes and one-half cup of fresh chopped parsley. When thoroughly mixed, boil two quarts of water in a medium sized pot and add the vegetable mix for roughly one minute. Once the mixture has been cooked and drained, pour on your favorite dressing and serve.
Seasoned Veggie Mix
For those who have a hard time choosing just one veggie, try a mix of seasoned vegetables for a variety of tastes and the health benefits of all. Take several different items, such as artichokes, snow peas, fresh green beans, asparagus, carrots, and/or beats and slice them into smaller pieces.
When you have your perfect vegetable mix, place all into a steamer rack. The actual cooking can take place on your stove or on your outdoor grill for approximately 25 minutes. Once the veggies have cooled off enough to handle, place onto your plate (if serving for just one) or into a large serving bowl for guests.
To add some additional flavor, include pine nuts, some cubed green apple chunks, or even some julienned fresh basil leaves.
Steak Lovers Choice
Along with seasoned vegetables, the meat lovers in the group can get their fill by throwing steak into the mix. One summer favorite is to add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a cut of sirloin steak. (Salt and pepper can also be added to enhance the taste). Next, make a salad dressing with approximately four tablespoons of red wine vinegar and one-half tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
Once you've cooked your steaks, you're ready to add fresh seasonal vegetables. Peel and chop one-half of a cucumber, several cups of baby salad leaves, one yellow bell pepper, a small cup of sliced red onion, two medium sized wedged tomatoes, and 12 ounces of drained and marinated artichoke hearts. To add even more pizzazz, you could also include some tiny new potatoes that have been boiled and drained, as well as a small handful of crumbled blue cheese.
Once you have assembled the vegetables, chop the cooked sirloin into small bite-sized chunks and place on top of your veggie mix. Last, sprinkle the red wine vinegar dressing on top to add a nice zing to this excellent summer salad.
What are your favorite ways to prepare vegetables during the summer?
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.